Live Below The Line Day 4 Lunch: Roasted onion and carrot soup (11p) and half a banana (3p)

Last night I made bread for the family – none for me, but I’m hoping there will be some left by Saturday morning – and while the oven was on I decided to fling half an onion and one of my carrots into the bottom of it, sliced and sitting in a roasting tin with a little oil. Oh, I’m so glad I did, because it tastes practically of luxury today, blitzed with a chicken stock cube and demolished in under a minute flat. I often cook things around other things in the oven, I call it ‘Cauldron Theory’, as in medieval times you would pack as many foods into your cauldron as possible to all cook together, saving you having to keep the damn thing going all the time. I have given the instructions below as pan-cooked, instead of roasted, but if you do have the oven on then feel free to fling them in for half an hour with a splash of oil for a sweet, succulent flavour.
Served 1 (barely) at 11p

1 carrot

Half an onion – I would have used a whole one but I have started rationing my ingredients

1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 400ml boiling water
First slice your carrot, skin and top and all, and peel and slice your onion. Toss into a pan with a small amount of oil and bring to a high heat. Cook for a few minutes until the edges start to caramelise, disturbing with a spoon to stop them from burning and sticking. When the edges start to crisp slightly, turn the heat down medium-low and add the stock. Cook for around 20 minutes to soften the veg, then blend and enjoy.

I’m doing the Live Below The Line challenge this year to raise money for Street Child United. You can read more about it, and sponsor me, at 

Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter & Instagram @MsJackMonroe


  1. You’re inspiring Jack. Great to see the amazing people at ‘Foodblessed’ in the Lebanon quoting you and reading your work – they are a wonderful group of people who are helping Syrian refugees ($30 food to feed a family of 5 for a month). They also put together a lovely lunch to feed refugees on a Friday – beautifully presented because they realise that eating isn’t just about the calories. Unfortunately it isn’t easy to donate to them at the moment – so many places where people are going hungry…

  2. It’s amazing what you can make with so little isn’t it.

    I was desperate for something ‘luxurious’ so I made banana icecream for my pud last night. Simply one of my bananas sliced and put on a tray in the freezer for an hour, then mashed up once it’s frozen, eaten with a teaspoon to make it last, it was just what I needed. 🙂

    Your soup sounds nice, if a little small 😉

    • The below the line challenge specifies £5 for food. Jack has already addressed the issue of calculating energy costs elsewhere in her blog.

  3. When I lived way below the line as a child we were always hungry despite my mother’s best efforts. and there was little variety. Every day it was porridge for breakfast with salt not sugar, Dinner was veg soup thickened with barley or lentils or stale bread followed by a milk pudding eg custard with a teaspoon of jam for dinner . Tea would be bread and jam. What saved us was free school meals where my brothers and I would queue up for seconds of anything going eg boiled cabbage and of course the free school milk that Thatcher snatched away. That woman was truly wicked. She had no compassion for the poor and sadly she still has many followers.

  4. Oh I am so jealous I was fool enough to double my target this year and now I think I will have to stay on LBL until I reach it! And how brilliant to make that soup I shall have to try that next year. This is my third year so you would think I would be good at it by now. You are inspirational and so glad you are able to raise awareness

  5. do I understand that, with this recipe — you utilized NO other seasonings besides the chicken stock cube?

  6. Love this! I used half a red onion, a red pepper and two carrots, roasted in the oven (had something else to roast anyway) at 250 degrees for 35 minutes, then blended with the 400ml chicken stock, as per Jack, and got two servings out of it. Absolutely delicious! One of the best soups I’ve ever made. Thank you Jack!

  7. Leftover potato/sweet potato can be added to this as well, for the lady who thought it sounded a little small. 🙂

  8. made this last night and added a few chilli flakes and pepper, its absolutely gorgeous! thankyou 🙂

  9. Sounds great going to give it a try today with leftover roasted veg from yesterday. Inspirational as ever – cheers Jack

  10. added a small potato and a tiny bit curry powder on my last batch, i love this soup! the last few weeks its turned into a staple for me, so easy and quick to cook. i work permanent night shift and its perfect any time of the day as a quick meal, it certainly fits in my schedule great where a lot of heavier meals dont, and if ive missed the shops, pretty much guaranteed ive always got carrot and onions in 🙂 Finally ordered the girl called jack cook book and im looking forward to trying lots of new stuff. Thank you, you have gave me inspiration back in my cooking!

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